Victor 888 Motor controller problem.

We have two Victor 888 motor controllers from 2014 KOPs as well as previously purchased Talon controllers. We wired up two of each on our test electrical system (The base system we will be using on our robot once our chassis construction is finished). Our Talon MCs work on any of the 1,2,3, and 4 PWM ports but the Victor 888s will never activate the motor. Code wise we are using Java. In our troubleshooting we instantiated specific java “Victor” MCs on the correct ports within the code. Still never got it moving the motor. The Victor 888s have the same flashing light as what the Talons show but the signal never seems to activate anything. The light never changes from the flashing (no PWM input) light. We have since swapped out the two Victor 888s for two other Talons. Our test system works great minus the Victors. However, we would like to get these two Victor 888s functioning.

Has anyone experienced this issue before? We are wondering if our Victor 888s are faulty and if so how can we test this? Any other ideas or suggestions?

Have you wired 12V power to the digital sidecar? Are all 3 power LEDs on the sidecar strongly lit? It will run (sort of) without 12V, but the Victors want a pretty strong PWM signal, and I’m guessing an unpowered sidecar won’t cut it.

Be careful inserting the PWM cable into the Victors. I’ve seen plenty of issues with Victors where the plug isn’t inserted properly or far enough, and thus doesn’t make electrical contact.

I’d be kind of surprised if you got two defective controllers. It’s more likely that your PWM cable isn’t going in all the way into the victors. It’s easy to think that the connector is all the way in when it stops going forward, but the pins aren’t inserted. Try wiggling the connector in or bending the pins forwards/backwards just a little to see if it goes in.

If you still have no luck, try looking down the connector with a flashlight and make sure you can see the three holes for the pins to go in. We once received a spike relay where a piece of plastic hadn’t been punched out for the pins to fit through and we did it ourselves with scissors.

Victors (888 and 884) are very touchy when plugung in the PWM cable. The male pins miss the female pins. Make sure the male pins are straight. When they go in properly you will feel slight reistance as things align. We generally always have a few do this until we make a good connection.

Thanks for the quick responses.

We checked the PWM cables by removing and inspecting to ensure there was no bending or any other mischief. It all looked good, no plastic no problems. It fit quite snug but well. We also used the same wires and configuration for the 4 Talon MCs and all worked good. We had more trouble getting the PWM into the Talon than the Victors. The Talon started bending one of the PWM pins and we had to straighten and re-insert. We can try bending the PWM pins to make it more noticeable during entry on the Victors.

The digital sidecar is lit with the 3 lights and is fully powered.

First, I’ve heard tell of the LEDs not always being a 100% indication of sidecar power. I’d check with a multimeter to make sure you have 12V at the sidecar power connector. Or plug in a robot signal light. Those never work without 12V to the sidecar.

If that doesn’t solve things, lets start working our way to even sillier questions:

  1. Do you have the correct PWM orientation on the Victor? Black wire should be closest to the fan.
  2. Do you have the correct PWM orientation on the sidecar? Black wire should be to the outside of the sidecar.

The PWM cable orientations are correct at both the Victor and sidecar. We do not currently have the light wired in. We are off build at the moment. We will get that wired in to confirm.

I will have to post back with a result once we are able to give this a try.


Do you have a multimeter with a 20mA scale? Perhaps like the ones shown here, which can be had at Harbor Freight for $4 (last I checked).

Set the meter to the 20mA DC scale (observe proper polarity) and insert the meter in series in the signal wire of the PWM cable (yes, you’ll have to cut the wire - but you’ve got extras, right? and you can keep the cut one for testing purposes).

Watch the meter as you increase the joystick command to the motor in question. If you see roughly 2mA* current at 100% throttle, then you’re getting a signal into the LED in the photocoupler in the Vic… and if the Vic isn’t responding (no change in Vic status lights), then you may truly have a defective Vic.

If you do not get a current reading, you may have a burned-out or defective LED in the Vic’s photocoupler. Or your PWM cable may not be properly seated in to the socket in the Vic. The latter is the most likely culprit.

*I think. I don’t have my test data here right now and I’m going by memory.

Thanks all for the support. We have the Victors up and running. We didnt apparently have the PWM wired in correctly down into the Victor. (Like many of you suspected).

Thanks again for your help!